You know how it is when you buy food for a particular meal and, not knowing how much you will need, go overboard, so that by the time you’ve eaten all the leftovers there are still very large quantities of one particular ingredient in your fridge.
This recipe started like that. Don’t ask me what I cooked, but two months ago or so I ended up with about three bags of leeks I did not know what to do with. So I used the wonder of technology and launched the Epicurious.com’s iPhone App, where you can browse recipes and search by specific ingredient, meal or occasion (and if you have an iPad that version of the app is an even cooler). I typed in “leek” and out of the many recipes the app suggested I chose the Mashed Potatoes and Leeks with Pancetta recipe. Because the idea was to use what I had at home, I substituted the pancetta for prosciutto and made a couple other tweaks (one was accidental, and it turned out to be great. You’ll see below).
You can follow the original recipe, or my version below. I served it with a strong protein, such as a steak.
Mashed Potatoes with Leek and Prosciutto
- 12 ounces Yukon Gold, White Round or any other “good for mashing” potatoes you like. Washed and unpeeled.
- About 6 slices prosciutto
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 tbsp butter or your butter substitute, as long as it tastes good!
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup 1/4-inch carrot pieces
- 1/3 cup 1/4-inch zucchini pieces
- Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 30 mins. Don’t let them fall apart.
- Meanwhile, slice the prosciutto further into thin strips. Set aside.
- Heat 1/2 spoon of olive oil and when hot, add prosciutto. Cook for about a minute, or until the bright red pales and it curls. Transfer to another bowl or plate.
- Heat up one tablespoon olive oil and add the leeks and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 4 minutes or until they are tender. Add the carrots. Cook for another 4 minutes and add the zucchini. Sauté until the zucchini and carrot are tender, about another minute. Remove from heat.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot you cooked them in. Do not peel them.
- Mash the potatoes with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the tablespoon butter until they are chunky. Add the leek mixture and the prosciutto. Season to taste and mix well.
- As you see, I don’t peel the potatoes. You may if you want to. The original recipe says to do so, but I forgot to do that the first time I made this and it turned out I liked both the texture and the look of the dish when the peel is left, so I always do that now.
- Be careful when heating the olive oil to cook. It has a low burn point and you don’t want it to get there.
- Play with the consistency of your mashed potatoes. If they feel too dry, add more butter or olive oil to them until they get to the consistency you are looking for.